Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

4/30/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As a Christian people, we are to imitate Jesus by living our lives just as he did.

Easter is not a time to have an on-going pity party.  People controlled by sadness are only giving in to their egotism and self-indulgence.  Yes, it is true that there will be many moments of sorrow in our lives. However, Christian joy must pierce through the darkness and illuminate our entire emotional life.  Remember, for us Christians, every day is Easter Sunday.We are a people of faith.  We are a people of the Resurrection.  We are an Easter people.  We must not be consumed by the craziness of a world falling apart around us.  We must allow the realities of our faith to fill us with profound joy and hope

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/30/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Sunday homily, Easter, Father James Farfaglia, Christian hope, Easter joy, peace, love, gift


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - One of my favorite movies is The Delta Force.  American tourists are hijacked by Arab terrorists who hold the hostages in Beirut.  Lee Marvin and Chuck Norris lead an elite team of U.S. Special Forces that rescue the endangered travelers. 

At the beginning of the tragedy, the two Arab terrorists aboard the jetliner begin to separate the few Jewish tourists from the rest of the hostages.  One of the most moving moments of the film is when Fr. William O'Malley, a priest from Chicago played by George Kennedy, gets up from his seat and walks into the First Class compartment where the Jews are being held. 

Kennedy courageously walks into the compartment where he is disdainfully met by the leading terrorist.

The terrorist asks what his name is and Kennedy responds that his name is William O'Malley.  Perplexed by the situation, the terrorist asks what the priest wants. He responds that since he is a Catholic priest and a follower of Jesus Christ, that he too is Jewish.  "If you take one, you have to take us all," answers the priest who willingly accompanies the Jewish hostages. 

"I am the good shepherd.  A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10: 11). 

The main part of the Holy Land was a large central plateau about 35 miles long.  The ground was for the most part rough and rocky.  It was impossible for sheep just to stay in one area for grazing.  Large areas for grazing simply did not exist.  Every flock had to have a shepherd who led his flock every day to places where the sheep could eat. 

The life of a shepherd was very difficult.  A flock of sheep never grazed without his presence and therefore, the shepherd was on duty every day of the week.  Since the sheep always had to travel in order to find grass to eat, they were never left alone.  Sheep could get lost, or they could be attacked by wolves or stolen by robbers. 

Sheep were seldom used for regular food by the people of the Holy Land; rather sheep were cultivated for the use of their wool.  Thus, the shepherd was with his sheep for a very long time.  He gave each one of them a name, and they all knew his voice.  In fact, it is said that each shepherd had a peculiar way of speaking to the sheep that allowed them to know that he was their shepherd.

During the warm weather, it was common for the sheep to spend the night away from the village farm.  The shepherd watched over them throughout the night.  In these circumstances, the sheep stayed in open areas surrounded by a low rock wall. 

The sheep entered and left through an open space which had no door or gate of any kind.  During the night, the shepherd would sleep stretched out within the empty space so that no sheep could get out except by crossing over his body.  At the same time, a wolf or a robber could not get in, except by crossing over his body as well.  Here we can see a prime example of how the shepherd would give his life for his sheep. 

Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  The Easter Season is a continual celebration of the one central mystery of Christianity; that Jesus gave his life for us by dying on the Cross.  He saved us from our sins.  "There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved" (Acts of the Apostles, 4: 12). 

Applied to our practical lives, the message is clear.  Whatever our state in life may be, we are all called to shepherd the sheep that have been entrusted to our care. 

Shepherding a diocese, a parish, or a family is very demanding.  Dedication, commitment, sacrifice and vigilance are needed every day.  Just like Jesus the Good Shepherd, shepherds are called to love unconditionally.

"By the oblation of his Body, he brought the sacrifice of the old to fulfillment in the reality of the Cross and, by commending himself to you for our salvation, showed himself the Priest, the Altar, and the Lamb of sacrifice" (Roman Missal, Preface V of Easter).

Despite the many challenges of modern life, diocesan families, parish families and families living in neighborhoods are vibrant, healthy, happy and strong when these families are led by people who are true shepherds, shepherds who lovingly tend their sheep. 

If we are going to be true disciples of the Good Shepherd, we must forget ourselves completely and be totally dedicated.  Jesus calls us to love one another unconditionally with self-less love.  "I am the good shepherd.  A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10: 11). 

As a Christian people, we are to imitate Jesus by living our lives just as he did. 

My dear friends, the celebration of the Easter season continually reminds us that Jesus is truly alive.  He is truly with us.  Because he is truly with us, we can always be filled with peace and joy no matter what challenges we are dealing with. 

"Grant, we pray, O Lord, that we may always find delight in these paschal mysteries, so that the renewal constantly at work within us may be the cause of our unending joy" (Prayer Over The Offerings, Fourth Sunday of Easter).

The famous Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) in his Divine Comedy, placed the people who allowed themselves to be controlled by sadness in the lowest depths of hell.  One would consider proud or lustful people to be in their place, but Dante's insight certainly gives us food for thought. 

Sadness is more destructive to the soul than pride or lust or any of the seven deadly sins because it causes someone to simply check out of life.   When we struggle with our sins, at least we can keep on fighting to overcome that sin.  We can still be filled with hope and joy as we struggle.  However, the person who is consumed by sadness cannot escape the darkness of despair and gloom. 

Easter is not a time to have an on-going pity party.  People controlled by sadness are only giving in to their egotism and self-indulgence.  Yes, it is true that there will be many moments of sorrow in our lives.  However, Christian joy must pierce through the darkness and illuminate our entire emotional life.  Remember, for us Christians, every day is Easter Sunday.

We are continually challenged by so many difficulties.  This is why we must keep our eyes fixed on the promise.  "We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come." 

We are a people of faith.  We are a people of the Resurrection.  We are an Easter people.  We must not be consumed by the craziness of a world falling apart around us.  We must allow the realities of our faith to fill us with profound joy and hope.  Meditate on the Second Coming, the glorified body and eternal life in heaven.  The Scriptures promise us a new heaven and a new earth.  We will be there with a glorified body!  How can we be filled with sadness?

However, the certainty of these eschatological realities cannot excuse us from our Christian duty to make this world a better place for everyone.  Go out into the world and radiate joy and peace. 

Like Jesus, the Good Shepherd, live your life for others with self-less love. "I am the good shepherd.  A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep"

The Lord is truly alive, He is with us.  There is never any excuse to be consumed by sadness.  Let your life be filled with joy and peace.  Radiate joy and peace to world so much in need of true happiness and self-less love.  

-----

Father James Farfaglia is the Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Corpus Christi, TX.  Visit him on the web to learn more about his book, homilies and audio podcasts.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

Oldest copy of Old Testament recognized as world treasure Watch

Image of The oldest surviving copy of the Hebrew Bible has been officially recognized.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The oldest surviving copy of the Old Testament was officially recognized as a world treasure by the United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Aleppo Codex is the oldest surviving copy of the Hebrew ... continue reading


More than a thousand 'super confessors' released by Pope Francis to tackle 'reserved sins' Watch

Image of One of the Pope's

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Those who commit "reserved sins," transgressions that are deemed especially egregious by the Catholic Church, will have another chance this Jubilee Year. Those who have committed such sins previously only pardonable by the Pope may now seek out the 1,142 ... continue reading


'What could happen if every church would rise up in prayer': Christians join before U.S. Supreme Court to call for prayer Watch

Image of Texas Loves Life stands to protect the unborn (bound4life).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Christians stand together outside the U.S. Supreme Court to call other believers to pray the pro-life law passes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While the Supreme Court considers a Texas pro-life law, Texas Loves Life calls for Christians to pray for the fates of ... continue reading


If 'Jubilee doesn't arrive to the pockets, it's not a true Jubilee,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of In his continued catechesis on mercy as seen in Scripture, the Pope noted how the Jubilee year is an

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

For Pope Francis, mercy is not just spiritual, but is something that ought to be expressed in concrete acts of service and in sharing one's goods with the poor, which was a key tradition during Jubilee years throughout Scripture. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading


'You can't have Jesus': NASA accused of censoring use of Christ's name Watch

Image of NASA announces the use of Jesus' name in e-communications is a violation of the First Amendment (SacredHeart).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Members of the Praise and Worship Club, composed of NASA employees, were shocked to receive a notice from NASA ordering they cease to include Jesus' name in their religious e-mails. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The use of Jesus' name came up in May 2015, when ... continue reading


MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey

Image of Take the Ash Wednesday survey so we can better serve your needs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online is conducting a global survey on Ash Wednesday practices. Each reader is asked to participate once. The survey will take less than a minute to complete. The results of the survey will help Catholic Online determine how best to serve your needs in the ... continue reading


Santa Muerte gains popularity throughout Mexico - Will Pope Francis react during his visit? Watch

Image of Santa Muerte's popularity has spread throughout South America (Pinterest).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Despite the Catholic Church openly saying Santa Muerte is not recognized as a saint, the death saint continues to spread in popularity among Mexican citizens. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Santa Muerte is an absurdity," Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Mexico's ... continue reading


Bible-themed luxury resort to be built in San Diego? Watch

Image of Televangelist seeks to build Bible-themed resort (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Televangelist Morris Cerullo has been attempting to build a Bible-themed luxury resort for the past few years - and now there is only one more hurdle to jump. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After purchasing a foreclosed Mission Valley hotel, Cerullo's plans for ... continue reading


What the Catholic Church should do about this new serious problem among the young Watch

Image of Deacon Flanigan confirmed that the recent surge in overdoses among young whites have been linked to controversial medical guidelines that called for a more aggressive approach to treating both acute and chronic pain.

By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register

When recent headlines marked a spike in drug overdoses for white, middle-class Americans, the news saddened but did not surprise Deacon Timothy Flanigan, an HIV specialist at Brown University medical school in Providence, R.I. Providence, R.I. (National ... continue reading


Pope Francis gives priests advice on being good confessors Watch

Image of

By CNA/EWTN News

Priests who are good confessors must recognize their own sins in order to forgive and comfort penitents, Pope Francis said one day before the start of the Lenten season. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "I speak to you as a brother, and through you I would like to ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 30:15-20
15 'Look, today I am offering you life and prosperity, death and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:22-25
22 He said, 'The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 11th, 2016 Image

St. Paschal
February 11: Paschal was the son of Bonosus, a Roman. He ... Read More